A report has emerged to suggest that Vivendi - the media/telecoms leviathan who currently own a majority stake in Activision Blizzard - are looking around for potential buyers...and apparently Microsoft is on their list.
Reuters has reported that potential buyers for Vivendi’s 60 % share of Activision Blizzard include Microsoft and Time Warner in the US, and Chinese company Tencent.
Vivendi have come under fire with flagging share prices and massive debt on the books, following chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy's resignation last month. It's alleged that the sale of Activision Blizzard could generate up to $10 billion in revenue.
"It's nothing official yet, but they've asked a bank to go and talk to possible buyers for Activision," said a Reuters source "close to the Vivendi board".
Banking sources apparently told Reuters that although no formal processes have begun as yet, Vivendi's bankers have started to "sound out cash-rich players, including China's Tencent and U.S. duo Time Warner and Microsoft, as well as private-equity heavyweights KKR, Providence and Blackstone".
Tencent and Activision already have a partnership in place that allows the former to offer up the phenomenally popular Call of Duty franchise as a free-to-play title in China. But the Chinese market is not big on game consoles, and the Western business models of Activison Blizzard may not fit into Tencent's plans.
"[Activision Blizzard] have two big franchises, Call of Duty on the console side and World of War Craft on the MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) side. And China is not a big market for console businesses; online games are much bigger for various reasons," said another Reuters banking source, who apparently specialises in this sector.
As for Microsoft, well the source said: "They probably don't want to distract themselves too much, but they are the ones who, if they want to stay in games, would think about owning some of these big franchises, not just providing the consoles."
It's unlikely given the speculative nature of this whole situation, and there's no telling what shot-calling power a 60% majority might actually bring with it, particularly in relation to the other shareholders, but just imagine kicking off next-gen with Call of Duty as an exclusive.
The mind boggles.